Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Quicksilver By: Stephanie Spinner

This is the story of Hermes. The messenger of the gods.  It tells from his perspective what it was like to be the one that Zeus, his father, turned to to make things right in the world and to care for others in the god's world.  It told a few stories about times when Hermes was called on to run some errands.  Like the time he had to rescue Demeter's daughter from the clutches of the underworld. To the time he had to help rid the world of Medusa. 

This was a fun book. It was just an interesting perspective on the ways the gods behaved and who they leaned on to run their errands. Hermes seemed like a great character, because he seemed to always try to help his father and to do what was asked of him.  It would be perfect to add to a study of the Greek gods, or just for some fun reading.  Perfect for sixth grade and up.

I borrowed this from the public library.
ISBN: 0-375-82638-6

Monday, June 25, 2012


Wonder By: R. J. Palacio

This is the story of August.  He has a facial deformity and he knows that other people have a very hard time looking at him.   He is attending school for the very first time in his whole life and is nervous and yet very excited about it.  He  meets some people at school, some are nice and some are not so nice but he really likes it.  Until one of the people he thinks is his friend says some things that hurt his feelings.   But imagine being his sister, Via, she is so frustrated with everything that has to revolve around August.  And the one person she loved and knew loved her passed away.  She is tired of dealing with his needs. Meet Summer, she is just an ordinary girl who chose to sit with August at the lunch table the first day of school. She thinks he is a great friend and finds it hard that others treat him so badly.  Meet Jack, he was kind of forced to being August's friend, but when he gets to know him, he really thinks August is a nice person to know.

I loved this book. It gave all the angles to being or knowing someone that has something special about them.  I thought that the characters were so real and could be found anywhere in the world in any school.  I think that this book shows how to know someone and be compassionate to those around you that are different.  I thought that the way the author told the story from the different people's perspective really helped to understand the real picture.  My favorite thing about the book were all the great quotes.and the message that it teaches. "Such a simple thing, kindness. Such a simple thing.  A nice word of encouragement given when needed. An act of friendship. A passing smile." (p. 300) Great read for middle school and up!

I borrowed this from the public library.
ISBN: 978-0-375-86902-0

Born Standing Up

Born Standing Up By: Steve Martin

This is Steve Martin's autobiography. I found it to be very easy to read and very fascinating. I found many things about Steve Martin that I did not know about before and was amazed at how hard he had to work to become a famous comedian, because I really think that he is a funny person and did not understand that it took a lot of work to be him.  I also did not know that he worked in Disneyland for many years, this was interesting and I loved how he described his jobs and how he loved to work there. Great read for high school and up.

I borrowed this from the public library.
ISBN: 978-1-4165-5364-9

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Sweetness of Salt

The Sweetness of Salt By: Cecilia Galante

Julia has lived a nice life with her parents, but feels like she is missing something.  As class Valedictorian she is really proud, but when her sister Sophie turns up unexpectedly at her graduation Julia knows that it will be rocky. Sophie has never been a nice person, always yelling and fighting with her parents, but Julia feels there is something different.  Sophie asks Julia to come and visit and tells her to ask her parents about the truth about what happened before she was born. Her parents tell her that she had another sister who passed away before she was born.  Julia is shocked and runs to Sophie to hear the whole story. She stays for the summer with Sophie because as sisters they need to work things out and Julia feels she needs to learn the truth about what is really going on with her family.

I thought this was a great book. It showed that sometimes what we think is going on with our family is not the truth and that if you love someone you need to be there for them.  It was a great story of putting you life aside to support those in your family that you love and to be there for them to find out the truth about what they are dealing with. Perfect for high school readers.  A few minor language usages in it, but really great read!!

I borrowed this from the public library.
ISBN: 978-1-59990-512-9

Monday, June 18, 2012

Penny From Heaven

Penny From Heaven By: Jennifer L Holm

Penny is eleven.  She dreams of doing things like the other kids during the summer, but her mother is very protective and does not let her. So she helps the family by delivering the orders from the butcher shop and doing other things. Her family is a little different and they do not always get along, but Penny can keep this in order.  Until her mother starts to date the milkman!  She really wanted her mother to marry someone like her father and is disappointed.  But she is able to find a way to accept the milkman and know that her father would be proud of her.

I thought that this was a great story for a fourth or fifth grade reader. Even though it is historical fiction and set in 1953 the issues are the same as some kids are going through today. I thought the writing style was perfect and the main character, Penny, was a wonderful girl!

I was given this as a gift
ISBN: 978-0-375-83689-3

Just Ella

Just Ella By: Margaret Peterson Haddix

Have you ever wondered how Cinderella felt once she moved into the castle to live with the prince? Well Ella didn't   know what she got herself into, lessons on how to be a princess, embroidery all day long, and endless mistakes that she made because she was a commoner. She did not even get to see the prince alone, just every other night to talk.  Through all this Ella is missing her simple life where she is allowed to have her own opinion, and she is questioning her love of the prince.  When she hears the rumors that she used magic to woo the prince she has had it.  But can she get out of this life?  Does the prince really only like her for her looks? Will she be able to have her one friend Jed?

I thought this was a clever twist on the story of Cinderella.  Gone is the happily ever after and reality has set in. The prince is not the noble man she thought and has no mind of his own.  And boy is palace life boring!  Perfect middle school to high school read!!  Very clever and great!

I borrowed this from the public library.
ISBN: 978-1-4169-3649-7

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Daddy Book

The Daddy Book By: Todd Parr

Happy Father's Day!!  This is the perfect way to celebrate all the Dad's out there! It tells all about what Dads do best. From clothes, singing, having tea parties!  I just love it!  The pictures are funny too!!  So next year, pick this one up for the Dad in your life!

I purchased this at Target.
ISBN: 0-318-60799-1

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings

Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings BY: Helene Boudreau

Jade is relaxing in a bath when she wakes up and has a mermaid tale.  Thinking she is having a bad dream or something is completely wrong she yells for her father.  Instead of freaking out he calmly sits down and says sorry we thought this might happen to you!  What?  Jade finds out that her mother, who drowned the year before, was a mermaid that was allowed to live on land, and apparently Jade has the ability to live on land and the water.  Jade has no idea how to tell even her best friend in the whole world what is happening and so she hides who she is, and then the unexpected happens. Jade thinks she has found her mother. But can Jade tell her best friend, and what about the cute boy who she keeps running into?

I thought this was a cute tween read. It is silly and totally unbelievable but perfect for the tween set.  I thought the characters were good because they showed what normal tweens are going through. You have a best friend, they make a new friend who you do not like, and you begin to feel left out. It shows them the emotions that many of them are probably going through.  There are two more in the series, Real Mermaids Don't Hold Their Breath and Real Mermaids Don't Have Two Left Feet 

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-1-4022-4412-4

Friday, June 15, 2012

Darkness Becomes Her

Darkness Becomes Her By: Kelly Keaton

Ari knows she is different and is looking for answers.  She was given to social services when she was just four and has no idea who her mother or father are. But she wants to find out so she has come to the insane asylum that her mother was in.  She finds out that her mother had a secret, and now she is being hunted.  Ari heads to New 2, what is left of New Orleans, where she wants to find out more answers. But she finds out a lot more than she bargained for when she meets Sebastian.  He knows she is being hunted and says her will protect her. But can he protect her from what she really is and will become?  Since neither of them know what she really is, can they fight the goddess that is trying to capture Ari before it is to late. A story of vampires, curses, and fighting the gods.

I thought this was a great teen read.  I liked the main characters fighting spirit and her ability to be strong when she needed to.  The story was an interesting one because while vampires are a big part of the book, it did not focus on them, it stayed with Ari who is trying to figure out why she is so different from everyone else.  The book had action and romance and a little mystery to go with it.  I think that high school readers would enjoy this, as there is some language used. And there is a sequel A Beautiful Evil. 

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-1-4424-0924-8

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas By: John Boyne

Bruno does not understand what is happening with his family, they are moving from their beautiful home in Berlin.  Their new home,  called "Out With",  is not as nice and has no friends or anybody around them except for the people behind the fence he can see from his bedroom window.  Bruno wants to understand what is happening and why they are there but no one will answer his questions.  One day he decides to go on an adventure and he walks along the fence for a long time.  He sees a boy sitting on the other side of the fence and he sits across from him.  This boy is named Shmuel, and they share the same birthday and year.  They become friends, and Bruno brings Shmuel food and they spend time talking each day.  Bruno still does not understand why things are going on, and one day Shmuel tells Bruno that his father has disappeared.  Bruno wants to help so Shmuel brings him a pair of striped pajamas and he goes under the fence to help his friend.

This was a heart wrenching book for me, as everything about the Holocaust is.  This nine year old has no idea that his father works for such a horrible person.  He has no understanding of why everyone says goodbye by, "Heil Hitler".  He is so in the dark and it shows the innocence of children.  My heart is broken for the way things end up in this book and it made me so sad.  But it is a beautifully written story and is a must read.  I would NOT suggest for anyone in elementary to read and only for the mature readers in middle school and older.   It would be a great historical fiction addition to a unit on the Holocaust though for high school teachers.  And there is a movie based on the novel.

I borrowed this from the public library.
ISBN: 978-0-385-75189-6

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Fourth Stall

The Fourth Stall By: Chris Rylander

Christian "Mac" is a boy who solves other kids problems. He has taken up the fourth stall of a bathroom at his school as his office. With the help of his friend Vince, he gets paid by other kids to solve their problems.  He is really good at it to!  That is until a problem comes to him that gets bigger and bigger. It is because Staples is moving in on his territory and creating problems. Staples is a bookie and all he cares about is collecting what is owed to him, and protecting his business.  When Mac tries to help uncover his secret identity things start to get ugly.

I thought this is a great book for fifth grade and up.  It has a lot of funny parts about kids and how bullies work! :) I loved the part where the author describes the bullies personalities to the reader. It is just funny. Great book. Look out for The Fourth Stall Part 2

I bought this from Scholastic
ISBN: 978-0-545-44549-8

Between Two Ends

Between Two Ends By: David Ward

Yeats is a young man with a family that is falling apart. His father has suffered for years with depression and a mother that has had it and is going to leave. As a last effort his father has taken the family to his childhood home to sort through some things that happened there as a child. But Yeats is so confused and feels strange in the house. His father's best friend disappeared in this house when they were younger and she has not returned.  While in the garden Yeats finds a bookend that is a pirate buried, he takes it upstairs into the library and finds it's match. Much to Yeats' surprise they talk, and when he catches them they must grant him a wish to go into a book of his choosing.  Yeats finally understands what happened to his father's friend. She went into a book and never came out!  Yeats decides to help cure his father by going into the same book and bringing his friend home, but will it work?

I would have to say that at the start of this book I felt really confused and the story was not flowing for me.  I almost put it down and didn't finish. But about the fourth and fifth chapter the book really started to pick up and get interesting.  After that I really liked the story and the characters began to make sense to me.  I do think that this would be good for a middle school reader and up, they might have the patience to wait out and read the first chapters.  I loved that the storyline is that they go into a book and become part of it while they are there.  The descriptions of them on a boat in the words was a wonderful image for me.  So I would recommend this book, but be patient because the good stuff does come. :)

I borrowed this from the public library.
ISBN: 978-0-8109-9714-1

Friday, June 8, 2012

Into The Woods

Into The Woods By: Lyn Gardner Pictures By: Mini Grey

Storm lives in Eden End with her sister, Aurora, and their parents.  Her mother does not do much of anything  but is expecting another child soon.  Their father does not pay any attention to them and really is detached from his family.  On the night the new sister is born Storm's mother passes away.  Their father cannot take his loss and so he leaves the family to themselves.  The baby still has no name so they name her Anything, as their father suggests.  The story gets interesting when their mother had given Storm a pipe and told her to protect her sisters.  A evil man named Dr DeWilde comes to get the pipe from Storm and the fight begins as they run away and are chased into the woods by the wolves.  Storm must figure out how to save herself and her family as they are being hunted.

I love this book!  It mixes all the fairy tales of childhood together into a very cleaver story.  As Storm and her sisters try to get away from Dr DeWilde more and more stories are introduced to you in a new way.  They end up in the Gingerbread house where Hansel and Gretel disappeared, they find out their mother is Rapunzel.  All sorts of good stories are in this book and their are told from different perspectives and intermingled. Great Book!  It is long at 438 pages so it would be for higher level fifth grade readers and perfect for middle school

I borrowed this from the public library.
ISBN: 978-0-385-75115-5

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Crooked Kind Of Perfect

A Crooked Kind Of Perfect By: Linda Urban

Zoe wants to play the piano, but her father has other ideas. He gets her an organ.  While not really liking the organ she plays, as her father cannot leave the house for fear of a panic attack.  Zoe is not feeling like she fits in at school any more especially with her close friend, but she makes new friends that come to her rescue when she realizes that things may not be the way she thought they would, but they are perfect in their own way.  When she has to perform at her first organ program and her father must take her there they both conquer their fears together.

I thought that this was a cute book.  It was about learning that things may not go the way you thought but they can turn out just fine.  I thought that the way it was written in short little entries by the narrator you really get to know the character and feel what she is feeling. Great tween read.

I was given this by a student, because of the cover with toe socks on it.
ISBN: 978-0-545-09936-3

Confectionately Yours: Save the Cupcakes

Confectionately Yours: Save the Cupcakes By: Lisa Papdemetriou

Haley has many things going on in her life. Her parents have  divorced and she is now living in the apartment above her grandmothers tea house.  Haley is also dealing with the way her relationships with her best friends Artie and Marco are changing. Being in eighth grade has changed the way they are all looking at the world and Haley is trying to figure out where she fits in.  But one thing is for sure, Haley loves to be creative and make different types of cupcakes.  Everyone loves them, but when the PTO president decides to try to ban cupcakes from school Haley knows she needs to help the fight.

I thought this was a cute tween novel.  It was a great way to show tweens that yes things may change when you are growing up, but you can still be yourself and find your way in the world.  Everyone has their own place and it is just your job to find yours. I thought the characters were cute and liked how there were recipes for the cupcakes that Haley made in the book throughout the book. 

I purchased this from Scholastic.
ISBN: 978-0-545-45667-8

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Nancy Clancy Super Sleuth

Nancy Clancy Super Sleuth By: Jane O'Connor Illustrated By: Robin Preiss Glasser

Nancy Clancy wants to be just like Nancy Drew and solve mysteries. She has everything a good detective needs, even a trench coat!  Nancy and Bree try to find mysteries to solve around their neighborhood. They are having trouble finding things until their teacher, Mr. Dudeny, looses his very special marble. Nancy Clancy is on the case and boy is she surprised when she finds the marble, and even more surprised to find out what happened to it.

I loved this book. I am a HUGE Fancy Nancy fan and was so excited to find this chapter book.  It is perfect for about second and third grade readers that are past beginning chapter books.   I thought the character wanting to be like Nancy Drew was a great story and the fact that Nancy still has her same characteristics about telling the fancy words for things but doing it as a little older character now.  I really liked the mystery part and think that it is perfect for kids looking for a little mystery. 

I purchased this book at Costco
ISBN: 978-0-06-208293-0

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Goddess Test

The Goddess Test By: Aimee Carter

Kate has been taking care of her very sick mother for the past year. As her mother is nearing the end of her time her only request is to move back to the town she grew up in. So Kate has relocated her life to Eden and is ready for the challenge.  But what Kate does not know is that it is more of a challenge than she thinks.  As she finds out that really she is being tested to be the bride of Henry, ruler of the Underworld.  She has to make the decision to help Henry and become his wife for six months out of the year or to try to go on with her life as it is, without her mother.  But the challenges of becoming a goddess prove a little harder than she thinks and the world around her becomes more of an illusion than reality.

I really wanted to love this book because it was pretty cool thinking that the gods were trying to find a mortal that could be worthy of being one of them.  I felt like I wanted more from the story though, it just seemed that important things happened without much information about it.  The book goes from Kate starting school and a girl that does not like her takes her into the woods and jumps and dies, so she makes a deal with Henry. The next day she realizes that she is now tied to him for six months of the year. For me it just happened to fast. Then I just felt like she was settling when she decided that to keep Henry alive she would go all out and love him and be his wife, it just was to out there. I didn't feel like the relationship was really based on love for her.  Like I said I really wanted to like the book and think that others may really like it, it just moved to quick without enough detail for me.  It is age appropriate for high school and older and I think that others may love it. There re more books in the series so maybe those will help me connect with the characters more and give me the feeling of understanding and knowing them.

I borrowed this from the public library.
ISBN: 978-0-373-21026-8

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession By: Allison Hoover Bartlett

This book follows the career of a book thief named John Charles Gilkey.  It starts with the man who is hunting him down, Ken Sanders, a book collector who has been stolen from. It also shows the world of collecting books, from rare first editions to historic books that are worth a ton of money.  It shows how Ken Sanders was given the job of book thief detective and shows his frustration of trying to find Gilkey.  But the main story line is about the obession that Gilkey develops for getting a hold of books no matter what the cost. He has a whole live of stealing as he worked at Saks and would copy down the credit card numbers of people that purchased items from Saks.  It shows a man that is obsessed with obtaining what he thinks will give him wealth and not feeling the least bad about it. 

It thought this was an interesting book.  It was like a secret club of people that specialize in getting their hands on rare books and have at one point all been stolen from. I liked the authors writing style in that it read as a mystery novel giving the backgrounds of the characters and all the right details.  I don't know that I would have picked this book on my own, as it was a book club pick, but I am glad I read it. It was really fascinating to just read about this man who really didn't think or care that he was doing something with other peoples money and stealing from others.  I thought the best line was when Bartlett asked if he had ever taken a book from a library and he said "No that would be stealing"  Interesting man!

I borrowed this from the public library, in the large print edition to get it in time to read for book club :)
ISBN: 978-1-4104-2332-0

Sunday, June 3, 2012

13 Treasures

13 Treasures By: Michelle Harrison

Tanya has always been able to see fairies. The only problem is that the fairies that she can see are always tormenting her and playing tricks.  She gets very frustrated and annoyed with them and wishes that she could tell people about them.  Her mother decides to send her to stay with her grandmother for a while because she is so frustrated with the "tricks" that Tanya is playing.  When Tanya goes there she gets more than she bargains for as she finds out that the fairies are up to even more worse tricks than she can even imagine. 

I thought this book was pretty good. I think that kids that are good readers in fourth or fifth grade and up would like it. It is longer for a elementary chapter book at 355 pages so it might be to long for some. I did like how the character was able to build her confidence in the book once she realized that she wasn't alone in seeing fairies.  All in all a pretty good read.

I was given this from a student
ISBN: 978-0-545-39210-5

Friday, June 1, 2012

Scaredy Squirrel At Night

Scaredy Squirrel At Night By: Melanie Watt

Scaredy Squirrel is afraid of what is going to be in his dreams at night.  So he decides that he is not going to go to sleep at all! So he makes a list of things to do to keep him awake. This leads to exhaustion and he ends up falling on a fortune that tells him that all his dreams will come true!  So he makes a plan to rid of the scary things he thinks is going to come, which leads to him making a mess of things and finally getting the sleep he needs.

I love this book!!  It is so funny, and what makes it even better is the illustrations!  The squirrel has funny facial expressions and the lists of things he does to trap the scary things in his dreams are fun. My boys loved this book we have read it over and over and laughed. I really want to buy it and it looks as if it is a whole series of books about Scaredy Squirrel!  Can't wait to share it with the kids at school too in the fall.

I borrowed this from the public library.
ISBN: 978-1-55453-288-9

The Comeback Season

The Comeback Season By: Jennifer E Smith

Ryan loves the Cubs. She watches every game and cheers them on, this is because her father loved the Cubs and he passed away when she was ten. She feels closer to him when she is watching them play.  On opening day she does not go to school and instead heads to the field.  But without enough money to get a ticket she ends up meeting Nick, the new boy at her school, and they sit on the curb outside the stadium to watch the game.  Ryan is dealing with a lot of emotions and is happy to have a friend, but Nick is distant and he is also popular so she feels not quite connected.    Ryan is having a hard time dealing with things at home and is even more upset to learn of Nick's secret. Will things turn out the way she hopes, and can she find a place where she belongs?

I liked this book. It is about loss and growing past it.  It shows a teen age girl that is struggling to deal with friends going different ways and still dealing with the loss of a parent.  Then she makes a new friend who has his own health problems and she must learn to be there for him when he needs it.  I thought the characters were special and made you feel that things would be okay in the end.  I think it is perfect for seventh grade and up.

I borrowed this from the public library.
ISBN: 978-1-4169-9606-4